Sylvie And Bruno Concluded
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This, along with the first volume, Sylvie and Bruno, were the last books published during Carroll's lifetime. The story has two main plots, one set in the real world, the other set in fairyland. The book as a whole discusses concepts such as religion, society, philosophy and morality.
This book has 216 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1893.
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Excerpt from 'Sylvie And Bruno Concluded'
During the next month or two my solitary town-life seemed, by contrast, unusually dull and tedious. I missed the pleasant friends I had left behind at Elveston—the genial interchange of thought—the sympathy which gave to one’s ideas a new and vivid reality: but, perhaps more than all, I missed the companionship of the two Fairies—or Dream-Children, for I had not yet solved the problem as to who or what they were whose sweet playfulness had shed a magic radiance over my life.
In office-hours—which I suppose reduce most men to the mental condition of a coffee-mill or a mangle—time sped along much as usual: it was in the pauses of life, the desolate hours when books and newspapers palled on the sated appetite, and when, thrown back upon one’s own dreary musings, one strove—all in vain—to people the vacant air with the dear faces of absent friends, that the real bitterness of solitude made itself felt.
One evening, feeling my life a little more wearisome than usual, I strolled down to my Club, not so much with the hope of meeting any friend there, for London was now “out of town”, as with the feeling that here, at least, I should hear “sweet words of human speech”, and come into contact with human thought.
However, almost the first face I saw there was that of a friend. Eric Lindon was lounging, with rather a “bored” expression of face, over a newspaper; and we fell into conversation with a mutual satisfaction which neither of us tried to conceal.
After a while I ventured to introduce what was just then the main subject of my thoughts. “And so the Doctor” (a name we had adopted by a tacit agreement, as a convenient compromise between the formality of “Doctor Forester” and the intimacy—to which Eric Lindon hardly seemed entitled—of “Arthur”) “has gone abroad by this time, I suppose? Can you give me his present address?”
“He is still at Elveston—I believe,” was the reply. “But I have not been there since I last met you.”
I did not know which part of this intelligence to wonder at most. “And might I ask—if it isn’t taking too much of a liberty—when your wedding-bells are to—or perhaps they have rung, already?”
“No,” said Eric, in a steady voice, which betrayed scarcely a trace of emotion: “that engagement is at an end. I am still ‘Benedick the unmarried man’.”
After this, the thick-coming fancies—all radiant with new possibilities of happiness for Arthur—were far too bewildering to admit of any further conversation, and I was only too glad to avail myself of the first decent excuse, that offered itself, for retiring into silence
The next day I wrote to Arthur, with as much of a reprimand for his long silence as I could bring myself to put into words, begging him to tell me how the world went with him.
Needs must that three or four days—possibly more— should elapse before I could receive his reply; and never had I known days drag their slow length along with a more tedious indolence.
To while away the time, I strolled, one afternoon, into Kensington Gardens, and, wandering aimlessly along any path that presented itself, I soon became aware that I had somehow strayed into one that was wholly new to me. Still, my elfish experiences seemed to have so completely faded out of my life that nothing was further from my thoughts than the idea of again meeting my fairy friends, when I chanced to notice a small creature, moving among the grass that fringed the path, that did not seem to be an insect, or a frog, or any other living thing that I could think of. Cautiously kneeling down, and making an ex tempore cage of my two hands, I imprisoned the little wanderer, and felt a sudden thrill of surprise and delight on discovering that my prisoner was no other than Bruno himself!
Bruno took the matter very coolly, and, when I had replaced him on the ground, where he would be within easy conversational distance, he began talking, just as if it were only a few minutes since last we had met.